Well this is the end of week 6, the final week of our first dialogue acting shots. I wish I had more time to tweak all the mistakes I see everywhere but you do the best with what you have. As Dylan Brown would say, "add more paprika next time" It is time to take a mini breather and catch up on all the great AM lectures I have been missing. We have the final segment of Walkthrough a Shot with Delio. That is sure to be great. I love getting to watch over these great animators shoulders, we get to see all their little tips and tricks. I had a lot of excitement this week, I had to buy a car to get to my new job tomorrow. Buying a car is stressful there are too many choices, and my assignment wasn't looking as good as I would have liked. I stuck with it, ended up running out of time at noon. There will probably be lots of revisions.
And we are starting our next dialogue shot right away. I chose some funny clips, I hope Jason can give me some good feedback since I like all of them and am not sure which one to go with.
Wow that Spaniard is certainly popular. There is just so much interest, pages upon pages of questions for the one, the only, The Fingerboarder himself...CARLOS BAENA!!! I had written in a question into the forum a few weeks ago. Seems that Carlos isn't able to respond to the many "Cars" questions that were asked, but luckily he was able to answer my other question which was kind of about job placement and the relative chances us AM'ers have at getting jobs. Speaking of which....Carlos, let's go out for margaritas to celebrate!!!!
Another week of working on the Queen of Sheba. We are getting down to the wire with only 1 more week before it's due. I don't even know if we will be able to hand in revisions of this assignment since they are drilling into us the importance of deadlines in a professional work environment. When we eventually start working in the industry the animation is never "finished", the producers just take your work away from you and either put it in the movie or don't, so you only have this amount of time to finish and we need to start getting used to that.
Early this week I was able to get the whole animation out of blocking and all linear, after which I had no idea what to do. I spent a lot of time thinking about what in the world I needed to do next, I knew I wasn't ready for splines yet so now what? I decided to go back over it in linear with a fine tooth comb, only looking at small sections of 50-100 frames at a time and tweaking individual actions and body parts. I also added more to the eyebrow, jaw muppet mouth lipsync and some squash and stretch in the head which was really fun to do.
At the Q and A with my mentor Jason Ryan, I got some feedback about parts of my animation "hitting a wall" it was not the first time I had heard this, my previous mentors Derek Friesenborg and Mark Behm had also mentioned this. I guess it its still something to work on. Jason told me to work through the poses to help a fluid continuation of motion, I tried to do this although I am not totally sure I get the whole work through the pose theory. I may have made some of the action wishy washy and spliney.
And in amazing record setting news, I got my Ecrit back from Jason about an hour after I submitted. Thanks Jason for the lightning fast feedback, you are truly amazing!
Next week in addition to our 1st dialogue assignments being due, we also have to submit 3 more audio clips and get right back started again on the next dialouge piece, the blocking is due for that the week after, week 7. I had been researching audio all along in between breaks in preparation for this project. I am not totally satisfied that I have found the perfect clip yet so the search continues. It will be a mad dash to rip and edit all the choices this week, I would also love to tape some reference video and possibly do a grease pencil test of the final audios if time permits. It all depends on how the smoothing goes.
Well I've been kicked out of many bars clubs restaurants and libraries in my time, but a ring hub..well I never! Early this morning I recieved an email from the Webring saying that I had been "suspended" from the Animation Webring, for not having the proper webring required format or something. Well I added the code to my template and as you can see I have the webring stuff down there at the bottom of the page. But I am still not in the ring hub yet! I keep checking the Animation Mentor Web Ring to see, but I guess I have been banned.
Week 5 Secondary Actions, was another special guest lecturer Jason Schleifer. For an hour Jason jumped and danced around while explaining the finer points of animations more sublte movements. He even pulled Carlos into the mix when he had to get something off his chest, that he had killed his pet turtle!! Oh no! At the end of this super entertaining lecture came the outakes, now when I say hilarious, I mean it. Jason has so much energy and spirit that he can hardly contain himself. And a love of coffee doesn't hurt. ;-) I love this school!
This week in addition to dressing naked Bishop up with a Tux and some fancy ears, I started moving out of blocking and into a linear pass. During the week I did some work, then on Thusday night at the Q and A got some great ideas from Jason and decided to take another stab at it and deleted the stuff I had done earlier in the week. Jason showed us how he "works through a pose" to get more breakdowns, and he also clarifyed his technique of "favoring the pose" I went back and worked non stop Friday morning to Sunday morning. I've uploaded my assignment and here it is. Mostly on linear with some small areas still in the blocking phase, on stepped mode. I have some more things to work out there at the end, esp the walk at the very end, that is going to be a doozy.
" My advice to all of you is simply to work hard. Not just kind of hard, but 110% blood, sweat, and tears hard. Just think. There are only a handful of jobs out there, especially in the film industry. I don't know how many students are in AM but it seems like a lot. Now add in all the students at the Academy of Art, CalArts, Sheridan, Ringling, etc. You get the picture. I know it sounds rough but unfortunately it's the truth. You have to work hard, be disciplined, and self motivated. A quote I always liked was "discipline is defined by what you do when no one is watching." It all comes down to how badly do you want it and are willing to put in the time and effort for it?"
WOW! AM was just featured in this article, what a nice surprise. It really illustrates the different levels of animation experience we all come into the school with, and so many people, all from different walks of life, living as far away from one another as can be. Truly an amazing feat if you really think about. How the heck did they get this amazing school off the ground and ready to run like clockwork? I myself have no idea, but I am just happy they did. :)
Las t night on Strut your Reel we had a live Q and A with Cameron Miyasaki, Pixar intern turned superstar. He's done some of my favorite scenes in the incredibles, the one where Helen and Violet are having a hear to heart outside the cave, he's become known for animating the more quite sublte acting moments. The part where Violet puts on her mask for the first time, and he whole posture changes, she can see it, her future...it's in her blood. Well, just Wow!
The Q and A was great I asked Cameron if he ever feels the need to have "real actors" act out reference material for him? And he replied that he doesn't ever get other people to help him with his reference, not the same way they did back in the DIsney days at least. I guess it's more goofy reference of myself...if it's good enough for Cameron...
Not only was Cameron gracious enough to answer all our live questions with his busy Pixar schedule, he is also pulling triple duty over at AM where he is our "Featured Mentor" We get a whole forum dedicated to asking him as many questions as we can think of. This is a great new feature of the school since our animation appetites ate voracious, there is already a never ending stream of questions waiting for him...thanks so much for doing this for us Cameron.
As if that wasn't enough, after the end of the Q and A session with Cameron, Strut Your Reel posted it's new interview with the Kit Kat Man himself, AM's own Bobby Beck!
I have to go lie down now, I'm having ninja overload.
I decided to do more reference videos after some more movie watching research to get inspration for hand gestures and the acting that goes inside of the broad movements. I came up with a few ideas, we will see if my mentor likes them. The assignment is getting tougher and tougher as the acting nuances get more refined.
So this acting assignment has gotten me all scared! I am having a ton of trouble thinking of how to take the next step in my assignment. The first blocking came out good I thought, my mentor told me a few ideas, but said that mostly it was working and to keep going. This week we are expected to add in more breakdowns and more acting into the performance, getting down to the nitty gritty of the performance, the acting within the main poses. Now this is where I am having trouble, what to do with his head, hands, arms, eyes, elbows, etc and ect... I have been as usual watching a lof of reference movies for character and acting inpiration and will probably tape some more reference as well. I have no idea what is going to happen.
Andrew Gordon's class on Gestures has been helping me a ton. There is just so much to take in. I have also been reading Manwatching and Unmasking the Face, so I am just drowning in information. There are so many subtle points to consider and you want to make sure the attitude you are portraying is clear and believeable. Time for more planning.
3D blocking is submitted! Thanks to all the work I put in with the grease pencil tool I ended up with a pretty solid 3D blocking piece. I knew exactly what poses I needed and basically copied the timing and poses from the GPT I worked so hard on. This is a great tool and I am definetely going to use it again and again, well probably forever.
I hope this porject continues to come along. I have a clear vision of what I want, the trick is getting bishop to do what I tell him!!